Options traders are abuzz following a huge bullish options trade in Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP), which is hovering around an all-time high.
The action in the consumer staples ETF is notable because the fund tracks a traditionally defensive sector and suggests investors are moving toward a risk-off posture.
Technical analysts have been pointing to recent strength in safer, conservative sectors such as consumer staples, utilities and healthcare ETFs. [Utilities ETFs Catch a Bid on Safety Trade]
XLP, the consumer staples ETF, has witnessed a “sudden influx of huge call buyers,” says Paul Weisbruch at Street One Financial.
“More than 250,000 January $38 strike calls traded yesterday which will likely result in large asset inflows into the fund via creation activity in the near term. The call trade is equivalent to about 25 million shares of XLP above the $38 level (if the sector gets there),” he wrote in a note to clients Wednesday “So, we see this as bullish, upside positioning by options players, and we will continue to keep a close eye on the sector.”
XLP was trading hands at $36.30 a share on Wednesday afternoon. The ETF’s top holdings include Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), Philip Morris (NYSE: PM), Kraft (NasdaqGS: KRFT) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT).